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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza

An Arlington small business owner had his marketing firm acquired by a national software company last month.

The story is a case study of finding success by breaking into a niche industry.

Six years ago, Justin Gooderham founded a marketing company to help clients expand their reach with mobile-friendly websites, blog content and social media pages.

At the suggestion of a friend, however, the entrepreneur tailored his fledgling company, Dalton Digital, to a sector with little competition for his services: title insurance.

“There are tons of agencies that help lawyers, that help dental practices, that help plumbers, but the title industry was relatively untapped, so there were lots of companies that needed the help of the service that I provide, so it was just a good match,” Gooderham told ARLnow.

He leaned on resources from Arlington Economic Development’s BizLaunch to establish connections and grow the business.

“I’m an Arlington native, so I started kind of close to home, reaching out to local businesses to kind of get my name out there, introduce myself,” Gooderham said.

During the early years, the local entrepreneur oversaw quick growth. By 2019, the company won the Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Home-Based Business of the Year Award.

More recently, however, the founder said his small team at Dalton Digital was reaching an upper limit — until an offer from Jenesis Software came along. The health insurance management company was started by an insurance agent who, like Gooderham, recognized small agencies needed help establishing an online presence.

The acquisition, announced in late August for an undisclosed amount, will give Dalton Digital “access to a broader range of resources, technologies, and expertise,” according to a press release.

Gooderham says that this is a win for clients.

“It just made sense,” Gooderham said. “I felt like I was a bit maxed out in terms of what I could do myself and my small contracting team, but [Jenesis] has a bigger company with more resources.”

The founder will stay involved with the company after the acquisition, but is looking to explore other areas beyond Dalton Digital.

He says that one of his biggest takeaways after starting and growing his business has been getting to know his customers and their needs.

“Getting to know the business, asking the right questions and uncovering those layers is really instrumental in understanding a business and ultimately doing business with them,” Gooderham said.

Justin Gooderham, Founder of Dalton Digital (courtesy of Justin Gooderham)

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza

As more modern conveniences and critical infrastructure connect to the internet, increasingly commonplace objects — like electric vehicles — can be hit with cyberattacks.

In this ever-changing landscape, Ballston-based cybersecurity company Fend has put forward a new piece of technology to protect large systems and small devices alike from offenses launched by alleged thieves, cybercriminals and nation state actors.

It recently patented a microchip that allows Fend to protect a wider variety of goods. Any manufacturer can embed the chip into small-scale products, such as medical devices and delivery drones, to keep them secure.

“We’re talking about cars, power plants, and other machines that keep the economy going,” CEO and founder Colin Dunn said in a press release. “Our users will be able to feed data into next-generation AI tools while permanently keeping attackers out.”

Like its first product — a “data diode” that looks like an internet modem — the new chip dictates how devices “talk” to the internet, such that hackers cannot find a way to wrest control.

“Because we maintain that physically applied, one-way data flow, that means nobody from the outside can ever hack in, and that’s a bold claim but it’s the sort of thing that our infrastructure needs,” Dunn told ARLnow.

Amid reports of continued attacks on national infrastructure, he said, governments also have to protect their older systems, such as energy plants, which have been retrofitted for internet connectivity.

“These are folks that have big, important equipment that makes modern life possible, whether it’s making the goods in our homes or bringing clean water to our neighborhoods,” Dunn said. “And they also have a big target on their back as well from those who would like to disrupt their operations.”

This is Fend’s fifth year in Arlington. The company is in the midst of fundraising, with the goal of expanding further.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity here to — really from almost the very beginning — do this in Arlington, and make a contribution to the security of our country and around the world right here from home,” Dunn said.

An engineer works on Fend’s data diodes (courtesy of Bryant Cox)

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza

A Green Valley-based nonprofit is encouraging kids to dream about working in tech the same way they dream of being a doctor or lawyer one day.

To help launch them into those career paths, MySecureKid — which also educates families about internet safety — connects children and teens with programming, apprenticeships and mentors.

Since founding the organization in 2018, Quiana Gainey and JaLisa Johnson have focused on supporting children from underrepresented backgrounds. While cybersecurity and technology are projected to grow more than 13%, they say a “knowledge gap” is holding back Black and Hispanic people, as well as people with disabilities, from riding that job growth wave.

“We were the first IT apprenticeship in D.C., and we were servicing a population that was what they consider disenfranchised. We just said that they’re undiscovered,” Gainey said.

Gainey and Johnson have both founded for-profit companies in cybersecurity and healthcare tech, respectively. Using that experience, plus their backgrounds in government contracting and military service, the duo say they created curricula for students to bridge that knowledge gap.

“We want them to see that there’s a shortage in cybersecurity [and that] our infrastructure, our country needs this,” Gainey said. “So let’s start with building that into the curriculum, building partnerships with community, with nonprofits like ourselves, so that we can help the next generation realize their dreams and also help them not go into all traditional [careers].”

Co-founders Quiana Gainey (left) and JaLisa Johnson (right) (courtesy of Quiana Gainey)

MySecureKid offers apprenticeship programs for teens as well as summer cyber camps and after-school programs for younger children. They pair high school students with mentors and provide scholarships to those pursuing education in IT, emerging technologies, healthcare, cybersecurity and entrepreneurship.

It also has worked with Arlington Public Schools for three years and has plans to partner with their apprenticeship program in the fall.

With these programs, Johnson says she hopes that students gain hands-on skills over time — similar to a trade school.

“We make things fun but challenging,” Johnson said.

She and Gainey also make sure parents have opportunities to learn about tech issues, such as internet safety.

“I always tell parents, when you give your childhood phone, it’s like leaving them in the middle of the intersection, and telling them to find themselves their way home,” Gainey said. “Now, you wouldn’t do that, right. So when you give them that cell phone, it’s time to have that conversation.”

Their space in Green Valley, which they call the “360XP Zone,” is self-sufficient, powered with renewable energy and connected to its own water supply. It features learning, retail and event spaces and is equipped with a full-service kitchen and bar. Small businesses can even rent these spaces and benefit MySecureKid in the process.

Calling on her healthcare background, Johnson designed the space to include clinics that she says meet Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards.

“We always say, ‘I don’t wait for someone else to do something. You can be the change you want to see,” Gainey said.

Inside one of the learning pods at MySecureKid’s facility in Green Valley (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza

The Courthouse-based hospitality commerce startup GoTab raised $18 million earlier this month.

Truist Ventures led the Series A funding round, per a press release. This milestone marks the startup’s first fundraising round after nabbing smaller seed investments a few years ago.

Founded by Tim McLaughlin in 2016, GoTab makes it possible for guests at restaurants, hotels, resorts and stadiums to order and pay from kiosks or phones — without needing to download an app — while streamlining order fulfillment.

“We have been incredibly intentional with the solutions we develop for our customers, and this latest capital injection will help us further enhance our existing solutions, while also helping us continue to scale the business across sectors and geographies,” McLaughlin said in a statement.

That includes going outside the U.S. and breaking into other industries. Last year, the startup announced its plans to expand into Canada and equip hotels with its solutions.

Already, GoTab says, hotels and resorts that use its platform see an average increase in sales of 28% and a 14% decrease in costs.

It attributes greater profits and deeper savings to its platform, which makes it easier to split checks, place multiple orders and communicate with the back of house. Participating vendors can combine GoTab with  other services, such as the reservation platform OpenTable.

GoTab Founder and CEO Tim McLaughlin (courtesy of GoTab)

Meanwhile, the company is focused on making its platform easy to use for people who are colorblind or have other impairments, per a recent interview McLaughlin gave to Forbes.

This commitment to improving the experiences of customers and staff is one reason Truist Ventures said it led the startup’s fundraising round.

“Truist Ventures seeks out companies that drive innovation, deliver impactful solutions, and support their communities; this investment in GoTab is a testament to these values,” Truist said in a statement.


Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza.

An organization founded by Wakefield High School alumna is returning to its stomping grounds this September to give back.

Founded in 2004 by Latina students and Wakefield school counselor Madeline LaSalle, Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT) offers young women in the D.C. area free camps and programs focused on STEM as well as professional and leadership development.

Fresh from running a STEM summer camp that targeted first-generation Latina middle-schoolers in July, LLT will next offer an after-school program for girls at Yorktown High School, Wakefield and the Arlington Career Center.

“This program focuses on leadership development, mentorship, community service and creating a safe space for the girls that breaks down barriers many of them are facing,” board chair of LLT Rebecca Singhavong said.

Likewise, the summer camp last month also showed Latina girls what they are capable of, dispelling stereotypes about who can pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, Singhavong said. About 70% of campers were first-generation and Hispanic students.

“It was pretty amazing,” said Singhavong. “At LLT, one of the main things we strive to do is break down barriers and stereotypes that Latina girls often grow up hearing, including the idea that STEM fields are only for men.”

Every day, campers participated in activities such as painting flowers, coding and 3D printing. They also met with women who have careers in STEM.

“All our programs are big on having role models, so the girls can see people who they can aspire to be,” Singhavong said.

Singhavong credited Marymount University professor Diane Murphy for her help ensuring this year’s camp was in-person, after it was held virtually for a few years during Covid. The camp was also made possible by a grant from a NASA program, NASA Inspires Futures for Tomorrow’s Youth.

A group of Latinas Leading Tomorrow participants and mentors (courtesy LLT)

In addition to camps and after-school activities, LLT offers a virtual professional development program that teaches personal branding and provides LinkedIn profile training and resume help, Singhavong said. Every LLT program is completely free.

“We are often dealing with families who would normally not have access to programs like ours because of funding concerns or accessibility,” Singhavong said. “Many of our campers came from fairly far distances each day to get to Marymount because their communities do not have any type of program like this.”

Singhavong — who is first-generation herself — said she has only been with LLT for a year, however, the organization has been running multiple programs for young Latina women for over 10 years.

Its mission, she says, is to combat a common stereotype that she has seen and faced herself: one that Hispanic women are meant to be caregivers and not dream of having professional careers.

“We focus on just girls because many Latina women are taught to be caregivers from a young age, but we want them to focus on themselves and what they want to do in their future,” Singhavong said.

A group of Latinas Leading Tomorrow participants (courtesy LLT)

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ALRnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza

When Covid hit, online learning became the new normal for students across the globe.

Not everyone fared well, however, and some students struggled to stay focused and understand the material, says Arya Rashidian, the CEO of a local online tutoring company, TutorDudes.

The company was founded to combat these downsides to online learning. It offers tools and tutors tailored to individual student needs, such as adding closed captioning and visual cues to lectures for visual learners.

“With this platform, I wanted to create something that isn’t a quick fix, but something that is going to promote real change for online learning,” Rashidian said.

TutorDudes can be used by any type of learner and some students with disabilities, including those with mild autism, Rashidian said. He added that tutors are trained to accommodate different learning styles and in how to improve the online learning experience.

“The company was made so that everyone, regardless of the type of learners that they are can be accommodated by our virtual platform,” he said.

Part of the TutorDudes team, including CEO Arya Rashidian, center (via

Rashidian, who graduated from George Mason University this past May, took on TutorDudes from its original founders.

After taking charge of the startup, he revised the company’s mission, services and structure to improve and expand the brand. Rashidian said that without the help of his team none of their success today would have been possible.

The startup has expanded and now offers enhanced tutoring services through, which can be accessed through a TutorDudes account.

Rashidian said he hopes to continue this growth so that universities and schools can also adopt the services TutorDudes provides. To do this, Rashidian said he and his team are looking for investors to fund this brand and technology expansion.

“We want to make this company the best it can be,” Rashidian said.

TutorDudes CEO Arya Rashidian (courtesy photo)

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza.

International startup accelerator ZEBOX is using Arlington office to help bridge the gap between startup companies and large corporations around the world.

ZEBOX connects startup companies with one another and provides them with a space to collaborate and expand within one office building, explained Elizabeth Ward, head of the company’s American operation.

“ZEBOX acts as a connective tissue between large corporations and the supply chain to innovative startups. We want to create new pathways between startup organizations that can benefit by doing business together,” Ward said.

Since its hub in Crystal City opened last spring, the incubator — headquartered in Marseille, France — has opened locations in western Africa, Singapore and the Caribbean, with plans to open a hub in England.

ZEBOX originated from the global company CMA CGM, after ZEBOX’s current CEO found that the gap between startups and large corporate organizations could be at least partially closed by housing startup companies together.

“The facilities are designed as a place for startups to work, but more importantly as a place for companies and startups to co-innovate. We are new to the area, but we view it as a prime spot for a lot of future innovation to take place,” Ward said. “Arlington is opening a lot of doors for ZEBOX to collaborate within our community. A lot of the team has been surprised by the innovation going on in the county.”

ZEBOX America Vice President Charles Dehoney, left, and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Duffy, right (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The accelerator’s local hub in Crystal City recently started the process of housing its fourth startup. That process is expected to be complete by September.

ZEBOX supports more than 60 startups in the U.S.

The ZEBOX office in Crystal City has hosted several fireside chats, as well as the French American Chamber of Commerce and members of the French embassy.

These events exemplify how Arlington is an ideal place for global innovation, Ward told ARLnow.

“Arlington made a lot of sense. There are so many innovative companies moving into the area with the state of Virginia doing a lot to entice young companies and startups to come to Arlington and set up their businesses here,” Ward said.

ZEBOX is now looking for ways the Crystal City office can better connect startups with federal government resources, to bolster their growth.

Members of the French American Chamber of Commerce, the French Embassy and more at an event hosted at ZEBOX’s Arlington office (photo via Elizabeth Ward)

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza

Arlington County will pay early-stage tech startups money to keep their operations in Arlington.

The intent is to support new tech startups, particularly those owned by women, veterans and minorities, while pushing down office vacancy rates.

The Arlington County Board gave the Arlington Economic Development (AED) the go-ahead to enact this program, dubbed the Catalyst Grant Program, last Tuesday.

AED will be using $650,000 of the $1 million it received in the 2024 Fiscal Year budget for its Arlington Innovation Fund, an initiative by AED to entice companies to fill vacant offices in the county.

“What we are trying to achieve with this is to provide capital to early stage tech startups that are based in Arlington currently,” Ryan Touhill, director of Arlington Economic Development, told ARLnow. “[The goal is] to really help them in the early stage of their company formation when when they’ve raised the money, and try to give them a boost to really accelerate their growth and to entice them to stay here in Arlington.”

Companies will receive anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 in funding from the program, contingent on them remaining in Arlington for at least two years. By attracting smaller businesses, AED hopes to drive down vacancy rates, which reached 23% in the first quarter of 2023.

“We know that tech companies are one of the drivers of job growth,” Touhill said. “We have a good number of tech companies here in Arlington, and we want to grow the number of home based companies that form here and grow here.”

He noted that AED is targeting these smaller, newer companies because larger, legacy ones are not looking to relocate at this time.

Office buildings in Rosslyn (staff photo)

AED is focused on what it calls inclusive economic development. To that end, it says it is focused on generating interest in this program among entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities and would like to see half of the Catalyst Grant Program applications come woman-, veteran- and minority-owned businesses.

“If you look at the trends, you’ll see that underserved communities receive way less in terms of the number of deals and the amount of venture capital they get compared to their white counterparts,” Adam Henry, a senior business development manager at AED, told ARLnow.

“We really want to make an intentional, concerted effort to reach out to our underserved communities to make sure that we can become a model for other communities to have the inclusive economic development approach,” he continued.

The county economic development division says it will partner with various community universities, organizations and groups to reach out to entrepreneurs and small businesses, according to a report. The application period could open as early as August.

Winners could be announced this fall. If any funds remain, there will be a second application cycle this winter or next spring.

The grants can be used to pay for costs such as salaries, benefits, training and recruitment, research and development, commercial real estate and equipment, the report said.


Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza.

Cybersecurity company Shift5 is experiencing rapid growth as it develops technology to safeguard the world’s military fleets, plane and train systems.

The Rosslyn-based startup has been steadily raising money, including $33 million last month, adding to $50 million raised last year. Shift5 has ridden this wave of investor interest, using it to expand its office space, add employees and, most recently, launch a new program to predict and avoid failures in military, rail and aviation technology.

“This [funding] has allowed us to invest in not just our employees, but also the greater Arlington community,” Shift5 CEO Josh Lospinoso told ARLnow. “Our expanding presence in Arlington enables us to continue driving the pace of technology outside the Silicon Valley while keeping an active pulse on the decisions being made at the Pentagon to improve and advance critical infrastructure.”

Lospinoso says Shift5 nabbed the extra $33 million because investors are interested in its stability and connections.

Shift5 CEO Josh Lospinoso (via Shift5)

“We’ve seen tremendous benefit from strategic investor involvement and wanted to expand their participation. Shift5 has eliminated bottom-line risk, found strategic points of connection with other industry leaders and brought them into our Series B funding,” Lospinoso said.

The most recent fundraising round, led by Moore Ventures with contributions from JetBlue Ventures, Booz Allen Ventures and Teamworthy Ventures, brings its total Series B fundraising to $83 million.

Within weeks of the funding news, the company had another announcement: a new program that will use artificial intelligence to improve maintenance and the operational intelligence services Shift5 provides, a spokeswoman said.

“Fleets generate enormous amounts of data that can be game-changing for how they’re maintained and secured, but most operators only have access to a small fraction of this data,” a press release said. “Shift5’s module will unlock this data, arming operators with the insights and context needed to secure their assets, improve performance and prevent system failures.”

While the company has racked up investors, in the last year it has also more than doubled its annual recurring revenue and number of customers representing the military and private companies.

Lospinoso said the additional $33 million will go toward making sure the company can meet the needs of its growing customer base.

“It will help us double down on our mission to unlock onboard data and increase observability for rail, aviation and military systems operators,” he said. “More specifically, as customer demand increases this extension funding will provide Shift5 additional runway to innovate for our customers and invest in our business and team.”

Shift5 founders deploy their product on a train during COVID-19 (courtesy of Shift5)

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza

A local startup is providing younger generations with a new way to understand banking and finances.

Wellthi is a software tool that grants financial advice on a social media-like platform. It can be used through its independent app that is available to download, or within mobile apps of participating banks.

“Think of it as a Facebook or LinkedIn within a mobile banking app,” founder and CEO Fonta Gilliam said. “We are helping banks rethink their mobile banking experience.”

Fonta Gilliam and Nneka Ukpai of Wellthi (via Wellthi)

The company, initially named Invest Sou Sou, officially launched in 2021. Since then, it has formed partnerships with Mastercard, Discover Card, Galileo Financial Technologies and IDology. Citizens Bank recently became the first banking partner to launch with Wellthi, Gilliam said.

She aims to bridge the gap between the financial services banks provide and the places younger generations turn for finance tips: social media.

“We found that a lot of banks don’t know how to talk to millennials and Gen Z. 80% of us get our financial advice not from our branch managers or a financial advisor but from places like Reddit, TikTok and Facebook,” Gilliam said. “Wellthi gives users an experience that feels like say Reddit or TikTok but in a space where users can talk to certified financial advisors versus random influencers on social media.”

Wellthi received funding from Virginia Venture Partners (VVP), an equity investment program within the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation. The funds given to Wellthi from VVP were partially through the U.S. Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative for a confidential amount.

She hinted at a few other undisclosed partnerships with banks.

The VPP funding follows on a seed funding round in December worth $2.1 million, Washington Business Journal reported. Gilliam says she moved her startup from D.C. to Arlington to take advantage of the various types of support available for startups, as well as the county’s hub of tech companies.

“Arlington had incredible incentives. I was looking for a [place] that could provide venture capital for early-stage companies like mine,” Gilliam said. “I was excited about the growth happening right now in Northern Virginia from Amazon’s HQ2 to the welcoming business feel the area gives.”

She says she hopes that this proximity will turn into more interest from local consumers and small businesses in the near future.

Wellthi promo (via Wellthi/Instagram)

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring Three Ballston Plaza

A sponsor for Arlington’s premier youth soccer league is helping girls hone their skills as players and coders.

Tim Yang, who owns an online coding school called 355Code, has been hosting classes for members of the Arlington Soccer Association Girls with Goals program this year.

Girls With Goals is a free, six-week after school club that helps low-income families at select elementary schools in Arlington Public Schools participate in sports. It aims to break down barriers to participation, including cost and transportation, while increasing membership in the soccer league.

Yang, who liked the mission of the program, decided to offer his services as a coding coach during a six-week session this spring at Drew Elementary School.

“I felt Girls with Goals was a great program and wanted to connect further,” he told ARLnow.

Tim Yang provides coding coaching to two girls through Girls with Goals (courtesy Jerome Boettcher)

Yang says elementary school students are the “perfect age” for the first stages of instructional coding.

In the last session, Yang — who has previously worked as a software engineer for the IRS, the bank Citigroup and Nike — conducted 45-minute classes. Girls warmed up with 15 minutes of typing, moving to 15 minutes of computer activities and then 15 minutes of theory connection, reflection and discussion.

After witnessing the girls’ passionate, dedicated attitude and persistence, Yang says he hopes to continue hosting classes for Girls with Goals this fall.

“The girls are great — they work very hard,” Yang said. “There is no reason not to [continue].”

The coding lessons were in part possible through the partnership Girls With Goals has with the Extended Day after school program through Arlington Public Schools.

Christyna Haskins, a program assistant supervisor, says coding was new to the girls and they love it.

“Every day they come in asking if he is coming today,” she told Arlington Soccer Association. “They really do enjoy it. Some of the girls said they want to do coding as they get older. So it has opened new doors for them.”

Yang offers classes for Javascript and Python to students from grades 4-12. This summer, he is offering a Javascript course for one hour a week, on Zoom or in person at 901 N. Glebe Road, according to the Arlington Soccer Association.


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